As she’s wont to do from time to time, my preferred reference librarian, Carol Ann Robb, recently e-mailed me a new word; one that describes perfectly a condition from which I suffer. It’s abibliophobia - the fear of running out of reading material.
It got me thinking about other arcane, irrational and persistent fears I’ve come across. Here’s some to add to your coffee klatch or church council conversations.
Papaphobia. One might easily assume this one is the fear that gripped you right after your mom said, “Wait till you father gets home!” In fact, it’s the fear of the Pope; and goes quite well with ecclesiophobia, which is fear of the church.
Acerophobia is not the fear of ingesting food at the old Ace’s Truck Stop Café’ but the fear of sourness (Close, though, huh?)
I’ll bet there’s not a lot of people out there with the fear of chins (geniophobia) or knees (genuphobia). But most everyone’s had a case of nudophobia (fear of nudity) at some time in their life.
How about helminthphobia (fear of being infested with worms)? I don’t have this one, but both Linda and I have developed a fear of ticks (entonophobia).
There’s an old joke in which a preacher asks the question “What was your favorite point in today’s sermon?” To which the congregation member replies, “The stopping point.” Which brings to mind something most church-goers experience from time to time: homilophobia - the fear of sermons.
Most children suffer lachanophobia (fear of vegetables) but I’ve never met one with arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth).
As I age I notice that I’ve developed intermittent catoprophobia (fear of mirrors). Probably has something to do with rhytiphobia (fear of getting wrinkles). I also suffer increasingly from chronophobia (fear of time passing).
It wasn’t until I discovered this one that I realized I suffer from defecaloesiophobia, which is the fear of painful bowel movements. (Do you suppose there’s anyone out there who doesn’t shudder at the thought of a painful BM?)
We’ve become a nation of obesophobics (afraid of gaining weight) but it doesn’t keep us from continuing to put on the pounds. What we need are more citizens with couchpotatophobia (fear of getting trapped on the couch with the remote, a two liter Pepsi, a bag of crunchy Cheetos and two Snickers bars).
Yeah, I made that one up, but it was kinda fun so here’s three more. You can come up with the definitions on your own to: telemarketophobia, textandriveophobia and facebookfriendsophobia.
Lest you think I’m a little twisted, please remember it’s in my DNA. Years back a cousin sent me a list of the following words that don’t – but should – exist.
AQUADEXTROUS – adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucets on and off with your toes. (Can’t everybody do this?)
DISBLONFECT – v. To sterilize the piece of food you dropped on the floor by blowing on it. (This is only if it sits on the floor more than five seconds. Everyone knows it takes bacteria six seconds to contaminate dropped edibles.)
LACTOMANGULATE – v. Mangling the ‘Open Here’ spout on a quart milk carton so badly that you have to resort to using a paring knife to pry open the other side. (Hopefully before to you try to pour from the mangled side and splash milk all over the counter and your pants.)
PHONESIA – n. The affliction of punching in a phone number and forgetting whom you’re calling and/or what you’re calling about just as they answer. (Especially distressing if you don’t know the person well enough to recognize their voice.)
And finally, here are some news stories that caught my eye:
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that three nude sisters smeared their bodies with mustard and drove off in a UPS truck. “We were trying to find God,” one of the sisters explained. (Funny, I’ve always thought of God as a mayo lover.)
The Swedish Company that makes Electrolux vacuums once tried to market them in the U.S. using the slogan “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” (Translators talked them into changing it but I think it was a mistake as “sucks” is now an integral part of the American lexicon.)
In Hardwick, Georgia a woman actually divorced her husband because he “stayed at home too much and was much too affectionate.” (No doubt he kept suggesting they make love so she sued on the basis of “irreconcilable inferences”.)
I hope, dear reader, you appreciate that one of the responsibilities of a newspaper columnist is to provide you with a little off beat material from time to time. It’s not something I relish, mind you, but as a member of the columnist guild, I’ve taken an oath to do so.
Much the same as a Carol Ann Robb was made to pledge, upon becoming a member of the reference librarian coalition, to maintain a constant supply of reading material to abibliophobics such as myself.
— J.T. Knoll operates Knoll Training & Consulting Services in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or email@example.com.